Unless you have been living in a cave, by now you have heard about or seen the distressing video in which  ( now former)Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell berates Houston Texas Running Back Ryan Moats for running a red light on the way to his dying mother in law’s bedside. His wife Taniesha, and her aunt defied a gun-pointing Powell to run inside the hospital to be with Taniesha’s mother.

Powell meanwhile kept Moats outside the hospital, lecturing, threatening, and generally being an unsympathetic, uncompassionate ass. True Moats did run a red light. However,  he had stopped at the light, with his emergency flashers on, and traffic waved him on.  He never contested that he had broken the law. He also never tried to play the “I am a celebrity NFL player” card.

By the time Powell had finished with Moats, 13 minutes had passed, and so had his wife’s mother, 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth from her second bout with breast cancer.

The video only shows the back of Moats’ car, and Moats can occasionally be seen handing the requested documentation to Powell, and attempting to explain what was happening. A Plano Police officer, and a nurse from the hospital attempt t explain to Powell also, but he is not interested. All he was interested in was asserting his authority. Through all this, Moats is reasonably calm, and cooperative, considering the circumstances. Considering that Powell had pointed his gun at his wife, he probably figured he better be calm. (Powell admitted to pulling his gun but claimed he never pointed it at the women – A fact disputed by an independent witness and the Moats family)

Within days, the video of the traffic stop went viral. People from around the world were focused on Dallas. Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle immediately stated that the young officers actions were deplorable, and not what he had been trained to do. Kunkle said that for Powell to draw his gun at first may be defensible. The SUV had not immediately stopped for him. People were piling out of it. The situation was uncertain.

“But as quickly as possible, he should have holstered his gun and apologized, once he found out what the circumstances were,” Kunkle said, “and then tried to accommodate the Moatses the best he could getting access into the hospital.”

His lack of compassion had resulted in his suspension with pay initially. After several days, an apology through his attorney, and the world seemingly to side with the Moats family, Powell resigned.

Just as well. He said he had been getting death threats. Frankly this guy should never have become a cop. It seems some people when given a gun and a badge become instant jerks. I say jerk because I am attempting to be kind.

If this story wasn’t enough to make you wonder about cops, another story recently came to light about an incident in neighboring Ft. Worth. In November of 2007, Officer J.A. Miller stopped Christopher Farrell for speeding. Farrell is deaf. When Farrell attempted to reach for his identification to inform the officer he was deaf, Miller claims he thought Farrell was reaching for a gun. He grabs Farrell and slams his face on the back window of Ferrell’s’ car, breaking Farrell’s nose. He also had hit the back of Farrell’s car.

The city of Ft. Worth just settled for $50,000.00 with Farrell.

Police officers have a tough, under-appreciated job. Traffic stops are among the worst situations for a cop, perhaps a close second to domestic violence calls. When you approach a car you have just stopped, you don’t know what you are going to find. However, when someone tells you that his mother in law is dying you should react with compassion. When someone is obviously unable to communicate perhaps you should stop and consider before slamming their face into a windshield. Take a breath, and consider the situation. No one is perfect least of all police officers. We hold them to a higher standard though, as well we should.  While I think both of these officers should not be on the force, ( as far as I know Miller only got two days off without pay, and Powell has resigned) Neither of them are a reflection of the many other fine officers on both the Dallas, and Ft. Worth Police Departments. Both departments have had some bad apples, but the majority of the cops on the streets are decent men and women. Just remember, they are human.

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